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Members, consultants discuss what USF reform order may bring

03.21.16 – NECA recently held its 13th annual Industry Issues Meeting in Denver. On the cusp of the highly anticipated USF reform order there was good dialogue between presenters and attendees. There was much speculation among the almost 60 members and consultants who attended about the details of the order and how to implement rate-of-return and rule changes that may become effective mid-year.

Allocation of spare fiber generated a lot of discussion again this year, but while various allocation methods were discussed, more research and discussion will be necessary before it is resolved. Participants expressed appreciation for the detailed explanation of special access rate banding and plans to implement future tariff options designed to increase members’ competitiveness.

Presenters covered a range of current issues, including non-regulated apportionment of spare fiber, marketing and help desk expenses, accounting for soft switch technology, radio frequency video and the USF Public Notice on the intended use of support funds. Other topics included:

  • Broadband support implementation
  • Broadband support modeling and data analysis 
  • Identifying DSL costs 
  • Annual tariff filing and CAF ICC true up update 
  • Special access rate banding
  • Technology trends and new service initiatives 
  • Settlements and pooling update for 2016 

Attendees said they appreciated the meeting format and group participation, as well as the expertise of the presenters.  

After the meeting, NECA Industry Relations Vice President Carol Brennan noted, “The continued backing of this forum as a means of discussing the issues among members, consultants and NECA is gratifying. This year’s meeting was especially important as we try to anticipate what promises to be significant changes for members in terms of universal service support when the FCC releases its latest USF order.”